This week, President Trump kept himself busy on Twitter undercutting Japanese officials, praising authoritarians and spreading a doctored video. In a time when abortion rights are being challenged, Pope Francis offers his opinion. Assange is charged under the Espionage Act, raising questions about the First Amendment. An explosion in France injures 13 in Lyon.
Explosive device goes off in Lyon
At least 13 people were injured on Friday when a suspected explosive device went off near a bakery in the French city of Lyon. Although the nature of the device and explosion is not clear and no one has claimed responsibility, President Macron called it an “attack” in a live interview. The Paris prosecutor’s office has since opened a terrorist investigation.
The explosion occurred at around 5:30 p.m. in a crowded pedestrian area near the Place Bellecour, a large public square popular among both tourists and locals. French police have released a picture of a suspect who was videoed dropping off a bag next to the bakery shortly before the incident.
In recent years, France has been the target of a number of terrorist attacks and plots. In 2015 and 2016, Islamic extremists waged deadly, large-scale attack. However, more recent attacks happened on a much smaller scale.
Trump goes to Japan
President Trump kicked off his visit to Japan with a tweet downplaying North Korea’s recent tests of short-range missiles, a move that undercuts the concerns and declarations made by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump’s own national security advisor that the tests are a violation of U.N. resolutions.
Japanese officials are worried by the launches as even short-range missiles are capable of striking the island nation.
Pope Francis criticizes abortion
On Saturday, Pope Francis said that regardless of circumstances, abortions are unacceptable. He also urged doctors to help bring every pregnancy to full term even if it is likely to end the child’s death at birth or soon after. Francis asked attendees at a Vatican conference whether it is legitimate to snuff out a human life to solve a problem. He followed up by asking, “Is it permissible to contract a hitman to solve a problem?”
According to the Pope, the decision to abort an ill fetus based on medical information amounts to “inhuman eugenics.” He said that abortions deny families the chance to welcome weak children and clarified that his position has “nothing to do” with faith.
Wikileaks leader Julian Assange has been indicted on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in gathering and publishing secret military and diplomatic documents. These new charges by the State Department raise important issues concerning the First Amendment.
This case has nothing to do with Russian interference in the 2016 elections, when Wikileaks published Democratic emails stolen by Russia in an attempt to get President Trump elected. Rather, it concerns Assange’s role in the leak of thousands of documents from both the State Department and military files from Chelsea Manning.
The State Department has yet to explain why it chose to charge under the Espionage Act, something that the Obama administration debated but chose not to do.
Trump tweets doctored Pelosi video
On Friday, a doctored video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemingly stumbling and slurring her words continued to rampantly spread throughout social media, fueled by Trump’s feud with her.
One version of the videos that showed Pelosi speaking at a conference this week was proven to have been slowed down to make it seem as if her speech was garbled. The video has millions of views on Facebook, and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani tweeted the video on Thursday asking, “What’s wrong with Nancy Pelosi?”
Trump also tweeted a different video Thursday night. However, the video he shared came from an edited Fox Business clip that had spliced different moments from Pelosi’s 20-minute conference emphasizing the points where the Democratic Leader stumbled on her words. Unlike Giuliani, Trump has not taken down his tweet after it was revealed that it had been manipulated.